Indiana Pacers (8-0) 95 Memphis Grizzlies (3-4) 79
13 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists was the final stat line for Lance Stephenson as he earned his first career triple double. I do mean he earned it when you consider the way Lance Stephenson has made himself an important player in the Indiana Pacers’ plan for a championship. He’s a guy that went from not being sure he would be a part of the team to now a player that figures to be one of the most important pieces on the team. What a journey for a guy in those short few years. Larry Bird is the main voice of the Pacers that has stated what promise and potential Lance Stephenson has. But most fans were wanting to give up on him in that first year with the team when it still looked like he was too immature for the team.
Now, fans have done the 180 on Stephenson, and are really embracing him. But you play the right way, and you show what a productive player you are, that will happen. That’s what Lance Stephenson has done for himself and for the fans here in Indy. He’s a guy that went out there and at times looked to be playing too fast for the game. There were signs two years ago that maybe Stephenson would slow himself down, and play within the game. I can even remember a few games when the Stephenson of today showed up, and I thought, that guy has something there.
Last season showed another turn to this story for Stephenson as he was able to just be that player that Bird believed he should be. A guy, like Paul George, that can do it all out there on the floor. Last night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies showed that the GOOD LANCE should be here to stay. I feel like now Stephenson is finding that comfort level with his play and how it affects the team. He doesn’t look to push the ball if there’s nothing there. He doesn’t try to get fancy with the passes if it doesn’t call for it. He’s not trying to chirp at a player when there’s no need to. That’s what the right players do for the game, and now Stephenson should be in that right mindset to be the impact player the Pacers need him to be.
This win for the Indiana Pacers now pushes them to 8-0, which is part of a challenge that Lance Stephenson threw out there. Win the first ten games, he might be able to bump up that number even more if the Pacers can put together these type of performances for a few more games. The 8-0 start is the seventh time a team has done it since 2000, and the 18th time in league history. It’s impressive how the Pacers just keep coming strong with the defense as evident last night when it felt like guys were getting steals just by poking the ball away and tipping it to another player. They might not have got the steal themselves, but getting the ball to another Pacer player might as well be it. This smothering defense could be that key to winning the elusive championship for the Pacers franchise. I know one guy that Pacers fan can look to in helping achieve that goal, Mr. Born Ready, Lance Stephenson.